John Dewey and the Alexander Technique.
February 25, 2002 1:07 PM   Subscribe

John Dewey and the Alexander Technique. Anyone with an interest in either the philosophy of John Dewey or the Alexander Technique will find this interesting. Dewey was a devoted student of the Alexander Technique and acknowledged its influence on some of his ideas. This site includes Dewey's writings on the Alexander Technique and other articles about their relationship.
posted by homunculus (8 comments total)
Thanks, homunculus. I was trained as a political philosopher and read my (small) quota of Dewey but had never heard about the Alexander Technique. Just shows...
posted by MiguelCardoso at 1:42 PM on February 25, 2002

Sounds like some sort of mix of yoga, meditation,and a few other it around today? or has it been replaced by persnal trainers and/or medication?
posted by Postroad at 5:14 PM on February 25, 2002

Alexander Technique is very much still around. I have a good friend studying the method at a school in San Francisco, and as you can see by the Google Directory, there's a lot of folks still practicing and teaching!
posted by arielmeadow at 5:45 PM on February 25, 2002

The Alexander Technique is still around. As someone who's been through it (not as a student), it's an interesting, if somewhat controversial technique. I've always heard it was big in dance circles, and some musicians know about it. It's meant to free your body of constrictions brought on through habit or injury. Does it work?

Well, some of it can have an effect rather quickly. You can see some of the benefits right away, but to really have it work for you takes a long term commitment to it's principles. It's not a quick fix for problems. In many circles it's even viewed on a lower rung than Chiropractic, which some people see as quack anyway.
posted by mikhail at 5:54 PM on February 25, 2002

Miguel, me too. I studied philosophy in college but never heard of the Alexander Technique until much later when I was investigating various forms of bodywork. Academic philosophers seem to be largely unaware of it, which is odd considering how highly Dewey thought of it.

Postroad, there are similarities to mediation and yoga, though the goals are quite different. It is still commonly used for physical therapy and is also very popular with actors and dancers. You could start with the American Society for the Alexander Technique if you want to find a teacher and take a few lessons. It's quite an eye opener when you first try it.

Also, Nikolaas Tinbergen, one of the winners of the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1973, devoted a portion of his Nobel lecture to the Technique.
posted by homunculus at 6:05 PM on February 25, 2002

I have just started learning the Alexander Technique in an attempt to help control my (mostly computer induced) RSI.

The first couple of lessons are quite interesting and intriguing, but as to whether it will make a noticeable or lasting difference in my condition ...... well the jury is still out. As noted above, it is not meant to be a quick fix.

I can definately see why people could consider it to be a bit wishy-washy or quackish, as (from what I have seen) it relies on quite a lot of repitition of reasonably simple exercises or movements. I figure it can't hurt to give it a shot though ......

Are there any others who have RSI who have tried the Alexander Technique? Has it had a positive effect?
posted by urban greeting at 1:55 AM on February 26, 2002

As a long-term practitioner of the martial arts (20+ years), I've used the Alexander technique as a supplement to my training. I view it as "kinesthetic-sense" training, much like the ear-training exercises I do as a musician. I spent about a year doing Alexander classes, & it helped improve my body awareness & coordination. I don't think it's any sort of miracle cure for particular health problems, but it could definitely be useful for dancers, martial artists & athletes if they have the time to devote to it.
posted by tdismukes at 6:05 AM on February 26, 2002

I know of a few musicians who practice it. In my high school band days, it was brought up in one or two music festival classes that I attended. The little that they showed us did actually seem to be helpful. For the techniques to become habit would be more work, which is probably why I let myself forget about it.

This is an interesting interview with three musicians who practice the technique (continued on pages 2 and 3).
posted by jheiz at 8:12 AM on February 26, 2002

« Older When Skyscrapers and Cities Become One.   |   Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments